UX design translates to much more than just the online experience. James Choi, who took the UX Design Certificate Course, used design and user research to build out his business, corduroi club, a retail company that offers simple high-quality apparel and accessories.
What made you decide to take a UX Certificate Course?
In the last year or so, I became very interested in the tech industry because a lot of my friends are programmers and designers. I realized the importance of UX design as a universal skill and how it aligns with the things that I do: designing business solutions (products) that ultimately help people solve problems and improve their daily experiences.
What are some key lessons you learned from BrainStation that helped you design your brand and product?
Some of the important skills I learned from the program are design thinking, user empathy, and understanding the importance of user-centric designs. Design thinking was a big one for me. When studying music, I was trained to practice and practice until I could play the drums better and faster, kind of like exercising and building muscles. But, it never really taught me to ask why, or how I should approach a problem when I am stuck. Starting a business can be really tough when everything begins with a trial and error process. I learned a lot from my mistakes and if I had learned about design thinking earlier on, it would’ve helped me strategize and plan ahead to create more optimal business decisions that would have saved time and money.
What do you do to stay creative in your spare time?
In my spare time, I usually read design articles on tech websites to keep up with the industry.
I also love to research vintage clothing, watch skateboard videos, and read about Bauhaus designers and their approach.
The UX course teaches students to use a User Journey Map to organize ideas and plot research. How did you adapt this method from your UX training into planning your retail products?
One of the key insights I discovered through my User Journey Map was understanding to address the moments when customers experience doubts during the shopping experience. Often, they are doubtful when they are unsure about their size, which is a common problem for online shopping.
I try to alleviate those doubts by providing measurements of the shirts and reference photos on social media to show how the product fits on different body types.
If I had learned about design thinking earlier on, it would’ve helped me strategize and plan ahead to create more optimal business decisions that would have saved time and money.
Do you think you’ll expand beyond the T-shirt space in the future? If so, will you follow the same process?
Definitely, I still see corduroi club at it’s beginning stage and there are still so many projects I want to explore in the future. I am so glad and thankful for the strong support from customers all over the world. They really encourage me to move forward and continue to expand the label.
I remember one time my friend took a photo of a guy wearing a corduroi club tote bag at a concert in Tokyo, it was an incredible moment for me! I think the process is always refining and I am always learning new information about design and growing a business. I am always trying new things and I am excited to apply the things I have learned from BrainStation to grow the brand as well as my UX career in the tech industry.
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